Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Canadian Labour And The Three Tired Regimes

Forget the shrimp Honey I'm coming home with the crabs
Hunter S. Thompson, Better Than Sex, p. 94

The one thing that really eats the Oracle of Ottawa is the deal that today's youngsters are getting in the work place. When I think of the deal that my nieces and nephews have today compared with what the Oracle of Ottawa once enjoyed, well, a man could get weary. Although union labour is still strong in Canada, it just isn't what it once was. Recently I have been pondering much on the problem. When and where did it start to go off the rails? It has been a long and slow process, but the answer came to me just recently. Labour power, in Canada and America especially, started declining on July 30th, 1975. The day that Jimmy Hoffa disappeared.

Winnipeg General Strike - June 21, 1919

At first hearing it all sounds a bit much over the top. But like all profound revelations, it improves with each and every additional pass. What are the foundations of the whole worker thing? What is it all based on? How is that labour got so far behind the eight ball? Well the Oracle of Ottawa actually rounded up some material on the subject recently. The reason there is not much good information on the subject is that the works are so incredibly expensive! It seems to be a conspiracy of some nefarious powers of billable hour powered interests. But already I have learned that the basis of labour law is based on three (tired) regimes. And I will try to share with you what I have gleaned so far.

The first regime is the common law of employment. "Which treats employers and employees as free and equal contracting parties in the buying and selling of labour." Don't you just get a real laugh out of that howler? This is essentially the same common law that Adam Smith and Karl Marx bitched about in their major works over a hundred years ago. And what is even more depressing is that their arguments are still as relevant today as the centuries of the past that they first recorded them! You as a worker, essentially have no power what so ever under the common law. We had better hope that the other two regimes left have something better to offer.

Jimmy Hoffa - Left - Where Labour Leaders Come From...

The second regime is collective bargaining. " It is based on the realization that the usually inferior economic position of the employees vis-a-vis the employer keeps the individual employment contract from being a satisfactory mechanism." No shit! Once labour was totally on top of this and really ran successfully with it for many many years. Then somehow, during the recent right wing wave that has circled the earth, this most powerful tool has been slowly and very successfully undermined. The one weird thing about all this to the Oracle of Ottawa is that the corporate overlords have no problem forming as a block against the workers of the world, through such "unions" as the Bilderberg Group, and all the other various secret societies! And yet they will not seem to allow and are never at all happy when we try to do the same thing for our own protection! Are you starting to see the problem here? 

The third regime is statutory regulation. This is the employment standards legislation of you province or state, that you happen to reside and / or work in. You don't need the Oracle of Ottawa to tell you that, depending where you live, this regime is now, it seems, constantly under attack. The Oracle of Ottawa is just in shock when he watches the incredible decline of American workers rights, especially as of late. It seems that the corporate blue suited whores will use any trick method, or naked power to even accelerate this dismantling. The old days of hearing the knees knock on the other side of the table is long gone it seems to me. What is to be done?

We need another Golden Age. And perhaps a Global Master Freight Agreement??

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